Blue Collar Intellectuals: The UPS Delivery Guy

by Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Planetary Society

Part of Appetite for the Cosmos, a five-part series on The Planetary Society's blog.

I don't know about your UPS delivery guy, but our UPS guy delivers during dinner. A sure time to get people at home. But unlike dinner-interrupting telemarketers, at least the UPS delivery guy has a package for you at the end of the intrusion of your family time.

Our UPS guy recognized me early on. "Are you the guy I saw on the news last night?" Apparently, our guy is a science buff and watches all the programming that PBS and Cable television can send him—the Science Channel, the Learning Channel, National Geographic, NOVA. There is no stopping him.

You could never gauge this level of curiosity from his personality. He is polite, soft-spoken, almost timid. And even though he may have, hidden behind him, an entire handcart of undelivered packages, if I answer the door, he will spend a slow ten minutes just asking questions about a television program he just saw, or a book he just read, or a cosmic event he just heard about. One of his favorite subjects is the status of Pluto's planethood.

The way this unfolds, you would think that each UPS delivery to my door was the guy's last. I am certain he would spend more time (how much remains to be tested), but I am always the one to cut him off because I don't want my dinner to get cold, and surely the other people in the building would welcome their packages sooner rather than later, and I'd bet his family would welcome his early arrival home that night. But who am I to judge the cosmic passions that burn within. I can only serve them, whenever and wherever they arise.